Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground
By Rita Williams-Garcia
HarperCollins, 2017. Fiction. 166 p.
Clayton loves it when he can sneak away with his grandfather, Cool Papa Byrd, and jam with the Blues Men in Washington Park.  Then one day, he grandfather is gone. Clayton wants to hold on to anything that reminds him of his beloved grandfather, but his mother seems determined to get rid of everything her father once owned.  When Clayton's mother takes his last memento of his grandfather, Clayton decides to run away and join the Blues Men on the road. Thus begins his adventure in the rich musical culture of New York's underground.

Here is a book that is likely to be on a lot of potential Newbery Lists this fall.  Williams-Garcia has created totally authentic and sympathetic characters of Clayton, his grandfather and his mother.  She also captures the heart of blues music and the vibrancy of both past and modern urban culture. This book is great both in print and as a book on CD.

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